Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents


Submission from Martin Butcher

Using NATO as an arms control vehicle to enhance European Security

SUMMARY

    —  The British government should prepare itself for a change in US administration, and the review of the NATO Strategic Concept, through development of proposals to return to the use by NATO of arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, as well as CSBMS, as security building measures.

    —  The government has elaborated a policy of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament, leading to the final elimination of all nuclear weapons. It has not yet chosen to pursue this agenda through its principle defensive forum, NATO. If it did so, it would find that the strength of 26 nations was brought to bear in support of its policies. NATO nations are currently fortunate that they face few if any immediate military threats to their security. Now is the time to act to enhance regional security by ensuring, through negotiations and the revitalization of NATO's role in arms control, that such threats do not emerge in the near future.

    —  The North Atlantic Council could become a vehicle for the discussion of such agreements once more; while NATO could work within the NATO-Russia Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue and other fora to promote threat reduction. At a time when NATO faces no military peer, it would seem only logical to use this position of strength to negotiate agreements with neighbours and near neighbours that can obviate new WMD threats before they arise.

    —  This would be a return to NATO's past successful policies. Since the days of President Eisenhower, the US consulted NATO allies on arms control. This process was formalized as part of Alliance policy in the 1967 Harmel Report. The "dual-track" policy of the 1980s resulted in the INF Treaty and contributed to a significant reduction in East-West tensions. The CFE Treaty helped bring a peaceful end to the Cold War. Both significantly improved the security situation in Europe.

    —  In 2000, the Alliance endorsed the "13 steps" from the NPT Review Conference concluding document, and agreed to work towards their implementation. Had this happened, the security would likely be markedly better today than it is. However, since 2001, the Alliance has slowly abandoned this approach. NATO no longer supports the ABM Treaty, CTBT, the START process, and others; leaving only declaratory support for the NPT.

    —  Relations with Russia which deteriorated markedly this Summer, had been worsening over issues including missile defence, CFE, NATO expansion and Russian intransigence in Moldova and Georgia. Cooperation on missile defence and conventional forces, building on continuing cooperation over Afghanistan, could help mark a path back to better relations.

    —  NATO has a border with Iran, and if the Alliance negotiated as a whole with Iran on a broad package of security issues, then the ability to provide solid security guarantees to Iran's leadership are likely to provide a basis for success in nuclear talks.

    —  NATO should eliminate its few remaining tactical nuclear weapons in Europe as part of this process, and significantly reduce the role of nuclear weapons in defence strategy. Current attempts to alter Alliance doctrine to reflect that of the United States are divisive and reduce, rather than enhancing NATO unity and security.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  The British government could initiate a debate with its NATO allies on a wide range of specific policy alternatives. This should form part of the Strategic Concept debate, and should:

    —  Rely on multi-lateral arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament as the primary tools for the reduction and elimination of all WMD threats and potential threats in the Euro-Atlantic area;

    —  Facilitate this through the removal of US nuclear weapons from Europe, the ending of NATO nuclear sharing, and the termination of all nuclear elements in joint strategy and doctrine;

    —  All Alliance members should consider how they can reduce and eventually eliminate the role of nuclear weapons in national defence policies, and how enhanced arms control policies could assist in bringing this to fruition

  Perhaps the most important shift that NATO could undertake would be the revitalization of the North Atlantic Council as a venue for consultation and negotiation of arms control positions with the North Atlantic Alliance. This has worked well for NATO in the past, and contrary to current policy assumption would do so again.

  Specifically, NATO could engage in a series of areas that directly affect the security of all Alliance members. These might include:

    —  Consultations with the US in the North Atlantic Council and with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council on the follow on to the START I and Moscow treaties;

    —  Discussions in the NATO-Russia Council on globalizing the INF Treaty, as well as urgent talks on reinstating the CFE Treaty;

    —  Consultations between NATO ministers on arms control measures to reduce the threat of ballistic missiles;

    —  Examination of measures to reduce and eliminate specific WMD threats, especially the potential nuclear threat from Iran;

    —  Examination within NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue of changes in nuclear use policy necessary to implement the Negative Security Assurances in the Pelindaba treaty—Africa's nuclear weapon free zone—and also on how NATO can assist in bringing that Treaty into force;

    —  Consultations on the entry into force of the CTBT, with a focus on US ratification and assistance that NATO as an organization can give to the CTBTO;

    —  A thorough study of all potential WMD threats to the Alliance and an analysis of measures that can be taken to eliminate them through multilateral negotiations, including concessions that NATO would need to make to achieve these goals.

INTRODUCTION

  1.  The British government is committed to pursuing further initiatives for non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. As Defence Secretary Des Browne has said:

    "Despite significant reductions in stockpiles since the Cold War, there remain thousands of nuclear warheads worldwide. The proliferation of nuclear material, technology and weapons represents a grave threat to international security. These challenges require a global solution. The international architecture to promote disarmament and counter proliferation is extensive, but still not sufficient. So we must continue to address these threats internationally. Every nation, both with and without nuclear weapons, needs to contribute to this effort. Nuclear Weapons States must show forward commitment to disarmament in order to maintain broad support from the Non-Nuclear Weapons States on countering proliferation."[136]

  2.  While the UK has been active within the NPT framework, as well as at the Conference on Disarmament, it has not been similarly active in using its mutual defence alliance to enhance security by reducing threats. There is now an opportunity to use NATO as a vehicle to pursue UK government non-proliferation and disarmament policy objectives—ensuring that these policies are seen as essential to our security and not merely as an expendable add-on.

  3.  NATO Ambassadors are beginning discussions on elaborating the terms of reference for a new Strategic Concept, to replace the one agreed in Washington DC in 1999. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has continued to voice his opinion that NATO's leaders "should endorse a new strategic concept" based in "lessons of 21st century security" learned in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Such a rewriting would provide an intellectual basis for future alliance roles and missions. Since the threat posed to the Alliance by WMD and their means of delivery has for some years been identified as a central fear, it is only logical that debating the role of nuclear weapons in NATO strategy, and of arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament in eliminating these threats must be central to consideration of a new Strategic Concept.

  4.  Some NATO officials are questioning NATO's future roles. In their new model, if NATO has an Article V mission it is against far more diffuse threats—counter-terrorism (including defending against the threat of terrorists armed with nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological weapons), missile defence, managing the destabilizing effects of migration, and even guaranteeing energy security and filling a role in counter-narcotics operations. In such a world, it is likely that a pro-active and intensive diplomatic approach to the elimination of those threats will do much more to assure the safety and security of NATO members than any deterrent posture. There must also be discussion of the extent to which NATO's nuclear posture harms the global non-proliferation regime and acts as a stimulant to threats and potential threats it is intended to deter.

  5.  For decades, NATO pursued dual track policies of deterrence and arms control as a means of managing nuclear threats. The balance of these polices has become distorted since the adoption of the last Strategic Concept in 1999. NATO nations should undertake an evaluation of current policy and practice. They should further engage in a review of their support for arms control and disarmament as threat reduction and elimination measures, and revise policy accordingly to become more effective at building NATO security. All this needs to be achieved urgently, as the new confrontation with Russia is chipping away at the structure of international arms control agreements, and threatening to develop into a new nuclear stand-off in Eastern Europe.

  6.  The 2009 Summit presents an excellent opportunity to begin negotiation of a new, forward looking Strategic Concept. The British government, as a leader in the Atlantic Alliance, is well placed to argue for the adoption of its own policies by NATO as part of this process. This memorandum examines the past contribution that NATO has made as an organisation to advancing this agenda, and goes on to propose ideas that the British government could pursue through NATO to enhance security through the reduction and elimination of threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, as well as their means of delivery.

NATO, ARMS CONTROL AND THREAT REDUCTION

  7.  NATO has a long and honourable history of contributing to global stability and security through participation in, and support for, arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament agreements. The North Atlantic Council has frequently been a body that engaged in detailed examination of agreements, and then endorsed them once concluded.

  8.  This contribution came because NATO regarded arms control as an important component in the reduction of threats to the Alliance from NBC weapon-armed adversaries or potential adversaries.

The Early Years

  9.  In the 1950s, for example, the Eisenhower administration used NATO as a consultation body with Allies before engaging in talks with the Soviet Union that led ultimately to the Partial Test Ban Treaty. Since NATO's deliberative bodies bring together both defence and foreign ministers in discussions of security policy, it is the logical forum for such debate. Internal NATO discussions about the Non-Proliferation Treaty lasted throughout the 1960s (often admittedly not concentrating on the non-proliferation aspects of the Treaty, but on preserving Allied nuclear weapons cooperation mechanisms). This dichotomy, enhancing security through threat reduction while also maintaining a nuclear exceptionalism for NATO members remains at the heart of Alliance policy today.

  10.  In the 1960s, the Harmel Report on Future Tasks of NATO included disarmament and arms control as Alliance tasks, recognizing their role in Alliance security:

    The Allies are studying disarmament and practical arm control measures, including the possibility of balanced force reductions. These studies will be intensified. Their active pursuit reflects the will of the Allies to work for an effective d

    tente with the East.[137]

  11.  During this period the North Atlantic Council regularly debated treaties under discussion between the US and Russia, and in the UN Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC, now the UN Committee on Disarmament). Regular consultations occurred on Treaties including the Sea Bed Arms Control Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, nuclear Strategic Arms Limitation talks and, for many years, the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction talks.

  12.  While NATO is not a signatory to any of these agreements, it was recognized by the United States (as NATO's leading partner) that the security of all members was affected by the agreement and implementation of these treaties and that, as such, it was advisable as far as possible to take Allied considerations and opinions into account during the negotiating process. For those treaties negotiated in the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC), NATO provided an excellent coordinating body for the positions of the several NATO members participating directly in talks.

Towards the End of the Cold War

  13.  The most visible example of NATOs use of arms control came, perhaps paradoxically and perhaps logically, at the height of the renewed Cold War in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1979, following intensive NATO consultations at ministerial and ambassadorial level, a special meeting of NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers, meeting in Brussels, adopted a "dual-track" strategy on Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces.

  14.  The "dual-track" decision, in which intermediate range nuclear forces deployed to Europe, to counter SS-20 deployments by the Soviet Union, were matched with an arms control track that eventually led to the INF Treaty, and the removal of Cruise, Pershing and SS-20 missiles from Europe.

  15.  NATO established a Special Consultative Group to manage the negotiations track. In 1987, agreement was reached and an entire class of nuclear weapons with ranges between 500 and 5500km was banned. This contributed massively to the end of the Cold War with a huge reduction in previously high levels of tensions between the two blocs. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given the room to pursue Perestroika and Glasnost at home, in large part because of his successes internationally.

  16.  NATO undoubtedly missed an opportunity for threat reduction in 1989 when Germany failed to persuade the Allies to adopt the so-called "Third-Zero"—the elimination of all short-range nuclear forces (SNF) from Europe. The later elimination from Europe of all SNF except US gravity bombs under the 1991 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNI), as well as reductions in Russian weapons at the same time, didn't meet the INF standard as they are non-binding, unverified and can be easily reversed. NATO leaders must now be regretting that they failed to obtain the elimination of Russian tactical nuclear weapons, of which some 10,000 remain, in return for the elimination of a much smaller number of their own weapons.

  17.  By the end of the 1980s, with the Cold War ending, Paul Nitze, who negotiated the INF Treaty at the end of a long and distinguished career, was able to make the following declaration:

    As it prepares to enter the next decade, NATO can look back on a period of substantial success. The challenge of Soviet INF [intermediate-range nuclear forces] missiles was met and, as a result, the INF Treaty is in place; the basic outline of a strategic arms reduction treaty has been established; important confidence-building measures have been implemented; nuclear testing talks have moved us well along toward completion of verification protocols for the Threshold Test Ban and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaties, which would enable their ratification; progress has been made toward reestablishing support for the 1925 Geneva protocol banning illegal chemical weapons (CW) use and toward completing a comprehensive and verifiable ban on production or possession of chemical weapons; and a mandate has been concluded for negotiations on conventional armed forces in Europe.

    But this review is a litany not of tasks completed but rather of good beginnings yet to be concluded. Even the INF problem will not be behind us until the treaty has been fully implemented. And, in the other areas, there is a long road yet ahead.

    As the alliance travels this road, its fundamental goal should remain unchanged-to seek collectively to protect the ability of its member nations to live in peace with freedom and to do so by deterring war.

    Arms control can play an important role in enhancing our security and producing a more stable East-West relationship. But it cannot be a substitute or replacement for adequate defenses. Instead, it is but one element of our overall security policy, a complement to the measures we must take unilaterally, such as maintaining weapons and forces necessary for an adequate deterrent. Indeed, experience shows that what we as an alliance are able and willing to do for ourselves is not only more important to our security than what we can accomplish through arms control but is also essential to the success of our arms control efforts.[138]

  18.  This realist, who served in both Democrat and Republican administrations, had recognized the role of arms control in building stability and enhancing the security of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. This must be a fundamental principle of good arms control and non-proliferation, that it enhances security and that all parties to an agreement give something to gain enhanced security. This was certainly the basis of the INF Treaty and the agreements that followed.

NATO, Arms Control and Disarmament in the 1990s

  19.  This was a principle that NATO followed during the 1990s. NATO members and the Alliance gave great support to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament measures in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War. The 1990 CFE Treaty set limits on military equipment, and set new standards for verification and transparency. With the PNIs, and the START I Treaty, the negotiated (although never ratified) START II Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the agreement of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the 1990s were an important decade for arms control. In all of this, NATO allies were very supportive. NATO ministerial communiqu

s from the period reflect this, with many positive references to treaties and negotiated agreements. NATO ministers also offered supported for START II ratification and for the negotiation of START III. NATO has also consistently supported the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

  20.  In June 1994, NATO adopted its Alliance Policy Framework on Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. This followed the January 1994 Brussels Summit acknowledgement that the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery was a threat to international security and a matter of concern to the Alliance, something NATO leaders had been moving towards since 1991, when they first mentioned the proliferation of WMD as a threat to the Alliance. This framework was the first major public NATO document on WMD proliferation, covering both the political and defence dimensions of the subject. In 1996 NATO Foreign Ministers reiterated their concern that WMD proliferation continued to pose a potential threat to NATO.

  21.  The Senior Politico-Military Group on Proliferation (SGP) and the Senior Defence Group on Proliferation (DGP) were established in 1996 and mandated to focus on proliferation issues: one Group to address the political aspects of NATO's approach to the proliferation problem; and the other to identify the military capabilities needed to discourage NBC proliferation, to deter threats and the use of NBC weapons, and to protect NATO populations, territories and forces. This marks the public beginning of a joint strategy of arms control and non-proliferation on the one hand, and military counter-proliferation on the other; both as part of a coordinated approach to the reduction of nuclear and other WMD threats to NATO. The Joint Committee on Proliferation (JCP) provides co-ordinated reports to NATO leaders on the politico-military and defence aspects of proliferation.

  22.  In 1997, NATO ministers supported the demarcation agreement on missile defences and the ABM Treaty as important to strategic stability. The Madrid Summit of the same year called for a legally binding and effective verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention.

  23.  In 1998 in Vilamoura, during an informal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, the US Secretary of Defence introduced, for the first time, the WMD Initiative. Its purpose was to expand the Alliance's understanding of the proliferation issue and to focus appropriate attention on WMD risks. At the April 1999 Washington Summit, NATO launched a Weapons of Mass Destruction Initiative to address the risks posed by the proliferation of these weapons and their means of delivery. NATO describes this initiative thus:

    The WMD Initiative will: ensure a more vigorous, structured debate at NATO leading to strengthened common understanding among Allies on WMD issues and how to respond to them; improve the quality and quantity of intelligence and information-sharing among Allies on proliferation issues; support the development of a public information strategy by Allies to increase awareness of proliferation issues and Allies' efforts to support non-proliferation efforts; enhance existing Allied programmes which increase military readiness to operate in a WMD environment and to counter WMD threats; strengthen the process of information exchange about Allies' national programmes of bilateral WMD destruction and assistance; enhance the possibilities for Allies to assist one another in the protection of their civil populations against WMD risks; and create a WMD Centre within the International Staff at NATO to support these efforts. The WMD initiative will integrate political and military aspects of Alliance work in responding to proliferation.[139]

  24.  At the same Summit, NATO agreed the so-called paragraph 32 process. This was named after paragraph 32 of the Washington Summit communiqu

. This reads:

    Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's security objectives. NATO has a long-standing commitment in this area. Allied forces, both conventional and nuclear, have been significantly reduced since the end of the Cold War as part of the changed security environment. All Allies are States Parties to the central treaties related to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and are committed to the full implementation of these treaties. NATO is a defensive Alliance seeking to enhance security and stability at the minimum level of forces consistent with the requirements for the full range of Alliance missions. As part of its broad approach to security, NATO actively supports arms control and disarmament, both conventional and nuclear, and pursues its approach against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means. In the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons, the Alliance will consider options for confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament. The Council in Permanent Session will propose a process to Ministers in December for considering such options. The responsible NATO bodies would accomplish this. We support deepening consultations with Russia in these and other areas in the Permanent Joint Council as well as with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission and with other Partners in the EAPC.[140]

  25.  This process was agreed as the end result of a disagreement within the Alliance during 1998. As in 1989, Germany took the lead in proposing the withdrawal of US tactical nuclear weapons (by then numbering a few hundred) from Europe. Unlike the 1989 debate, they had the support of Canada amongst others. However, the United States having adapted its nuclear doctrine for the use of these weapons in counter-proliferation missions was, by this time, dead set against the removal of the B61s from Europe. American leaders were in no way concerned about Russia at this time, seeing little need to engage Moscow in serious arms control and disarmament talks.

  26.  This process led to the agreement of the Report on Options for Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs), Verification, Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament in December 2000. While some regarded this report as disappointing, since it reiterates the need for NATO to retain some nuclear weapons, it does include some far-reaching ideas. This report reiterates previously agreed Alliance positions on the threats and risks from WMD. It recaps Alliance support for arms control and disarmament during the 1980s and 1990s. It then lays out a series of measures that NATO will undertake in the future. These include support for:

    —  all the "13 steps" from the 2000 NPT review Conference, including establishment of a body in the Conference on Disarmament to address nuclear disarmament;

    —  the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;

    —  a UN process on the peaceful uses of Outer Space;

    —  enhanced dialogue with Russia on tactical nuclear weapons, CSBMs and transparency on nuclear matters;

    —  dialogue with all NATO partners on proliferation, arms control and disarmament.[141]

  27.  Introducing this report, the Foreign Minister's communiqu

 at this meeting stated that:

    Recalling the Alliance's longstanding commitment to the goals of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, we welcome the comprehensive report on options for confidence and security building measures (CSBMs), verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament called for by our Heads of State and Government in Washington. We task the Council in Permanent Session to pursue vigorously implementation of the recommendations contained in this report, including with Russia through the PJC. A public report has been released as a NATO document.[142]

  28.  Had NATO worked to implement the recommendations they adopted, and tasked Ambassadors to develop and pursue them, this report could have had a very positive impact on the security environment in Europe and its periphery. However, only a month later President Bush took office and the climate for arms control and disarmament changed dramatically.

NATO and Arms Control Since 2000

  29.  From this high point in late 2000, NATO's public commitment to threat reduction through multilateral agreement has steadily diminished. This reflects the antipathy of the Bush administration, which took office in January 2001, to anything that can be interpreted as restricting American freedom of action in the realm of national security.

  30.  The effect of the change of American policy in this field was almost immediate. By May 2001, when NATO Foreign Ministers met in Budapest, the commitments of December 2000 were gone. Their communiqu

 stated that:

    76.  The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery continues to be a matter of serious concern for the Alliance as it poses risks to international and regional security and can pose a direct military threat to Allies' populations, territory and forces. The principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members remains unchanged: to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. In this context we continue to place great importance on non-proliferation and export control regimes, international arms control and disarmament as means to prevent proliferation.[143]

  31.  However, the communiqu

 also dropped almost all the practical commitments agreed only six months previously. Instead of full support for the outcome of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, NATO is now only offering to "contribute to the implementation" of its conclusions. A softening of support for the CTBT is also obvious. Support for continuation of the START process has become a mere recognition of "the achievements" of the START process, and in a sign of things to come, states that following up the coordinated, unilateral and non-treaty nuclear reductions of the 1991 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives might be the way to move forward.

  32.  This softening of support for formal treaties and arms control continued through following years. The 2004 Istanbul Summit saw a further reduction in support for concrete measures to reduce nuclear and other NBC threats. While the communiqu

 recognized that "… the Alliance's policy of support for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's security objectives, including preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery,"[144] it offered support only for the NPT and for the biological and chemical weapons conventions. Other measures supported were unilateral or non-treaty based, notably the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative. Treaties that had previously seen as vital, for example the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty which can prevent new states deploying any but the most rudimentary nuclear weapons, are now ignored by the Alliance—despite the fact that all member states except the United States continue to fully support the Treaty.

  33.  This trend has only accelerated. By the 2006 Defence Minister's Session of the Defence Planning Committee in June, Ministers stated that:

    7.  In this regard, we note that deterrence and defence, along with arms control and non-proliferation, will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's security objectives. We reaffirmed our full commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of global nuclear non-proliferation efforts and an essential basis for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. In this context, we expressed serious concern over the possible consequences for security and stability, resulting from instances of non-compliance with the Treaty. We call again on all countries to abide by their commitments in this domain.[145]

  34.  Their session of the North Atlantic Council at the same time made no reference to arms control whatsoever. This declaratory policy, without offering support for any concrete measures, was a measure of how far NATO had moved away from a policy of building security through multilateral cooperation. Even this small reference is expressed in terms of the failure of others to observe the NPT, not NATO's failure to address criticism of their nuclear sharing program, something which has been repeatedly criticised as a breach of the Treaty at NPT Review Conferences since 1995.

  35.  By the Riga Summit at the end of 2006, arms control had all but vanished. The Comprehensive Political Guidance adopted in Riga (intended to guide Alliance defence thinking for 10 to 15 years) states that the "principle threats" to the Alliance are likely to include "the spread of weapons of mass destruction". Other security risks include the "growing availability of sophisticated conventional weaponry; the misuse of emerging technologies" and "terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction."

  36.  The Riga communiqu

 reaffirms the NATO "commitment to the CFE Treaty as a cornerstone of European security", it was not important enough for NATO to move forward with ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty, as agreed with Russia in 1999. These adaptations removed the old bloc-to-bloc structure of the CFE Treaty, replacing them instead with national and regional restrictions on Treaty-limited weapons. The Adapted Treaty also provided for greater transparency, and for the accession of new states to the Treaty.[146] NATO's reticence in ratifying the Adapted CFE Treaty has subsequently led Russia to suspend the Treaty and to threaten withdrawal. There is no other mention of arms control, non-proliferation or disarmament in the communiqu

. The only measure concerning controlling WMD comes under the section on NATO force structures:

    The adaptation of our forces must continue. We have endorsed a set of initiatives to increase the capacity of our forces to address contemporary threats and challenges.

    — continuing efforts to develop capabilities to counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats;[147]

  37.  This communiqu

 reflects perfectly the world view of the Bush administration. Military measures to attack and destroy potential threats are favoured to the exclusion of arms control and non-proliferation measures. There is no recognition of the stability and security that comes from negotiating away potential threats with a current or future adversary, or even that the process of negotiations itself can (as in the 1980s) have value in trust building and reducing the likelihood of conflict.

  38.  The meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers' Session in Brussels in 2007 also failed to mention arms control, except for a perfunctory mention of the CFE Treaty.

  In December 2007, the German and Norwegian governments launched an initiative to stimulate the arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament debate within NATO. Foreign Ministers noted a report on the subject and looked forward to the Bucharest Summit. At Bucharest, this process was again noted as the need to "raise the profile" of these topics within the Alliance.

  39.  NATO leaders at Bucharest noted that:

    We are committed to develop policies and capabilities to deal with emerging challenges and threats. This includes the development of a comprehensive policy for preventing the proliferation of WMD and defending against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.[148]

    Concrete measures for arms control measures to implement this policy, negotiating away threats before they can emerge were notably absent however. The counterproliferation-driven military approach to removing threats is also evident in this statement.

  40.  The Declaration further stated that:

    We reaffirm that arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to make an important contribution to peace, security, and stability and, in this regard, to preventing the spread and use of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery. We took note of the report prepared for us on raising NATO's profile in this field. As part of a broader response to security issues, NATO should continue contributing to international efforts in the area of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, and we task the Council in Permanent Session to keep these issues under active review.[149]

  41.  The Summit welcomed past nuclear reductions, but contained no proposals to move forward. References to Iran and North Korea called for compliance with ongoing UN attempts to resolve outstanding issues. Particularly with the case of Iran, this is striking. NATO borders Iran. If Iran developed a nuclear capability it would impinge directly on the security of the Alliance. And yet, the North Atlantic Council is not the venue for coordination of western policy on Iran. There is no NATO-Iran process for negotiating confidence-building measures, transparency and to engage each other on threat perceptions and measures to eradicate threats. Even worst case estimates for the production of a nuclear weapon by Iran suggest we have years in which to work before they might achieve a nuclear capability.

  42.  The German/Norwegian initiative is welcome, but more needs to emerge from it than came as a result of the last review. The Norwegian government has now published a welcome and detailed policy paper on this issue. Other nations such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany which have voiced support for a NATO role in this field now need to add their contribution.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE DECLINE OF NATO SUPPORT FOR ARMS CONTROL

  43.  It appears that NATO has abandoned any attempt at threat reduction through arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, in favour of a purely military response to potential WMD-armed adversaries. This is strange, given the successful use during the 1980s of multi-lateral agreements to reduce armaments and the likelihood of conflict, both nuclear and conventional. At the very least, the role of non-proliferation has been severely downgraded. This reflects US national policy much more than it reflects the collective view of the Alliance as a whole.

  44.  At a time when NATO faces no military peer, it would seem only logical to use this position of strength to negotiate agreements with neighbours and near neighbours that can obviate new WMD threats before they arise. It seems that European nations have submitted to the Bush administration's global outlook, and allowed it to become the policy of the entire Alliance. This despite the fact that it is clear that European nations do not share the bleak world view emanating from Washington DC. Both the European Security Strategy and the Strategy Against the Proliferation of WMD adopted by the EU place much more emphasis on multilateral diplomacy to construct security from WMD threats than is now the case for NATO—and yet, because of NATO's consensus rule Europeans have been overridden by United States.

  45.  Even the most problematic current potential nuclear weapons threat facing NATO nations, Iran, is both some years away and open to resolution through negotiation and arms control. A security guarantee for Iran's government, on behalf of NATO or its member states, could be the basis for achieving agreement on other much wider areas of concern for the West, including Iran's support for terrorism and their nuclear program. The removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Turkey could also play a role in such a process. Iran must, naturally, play its part and become much more open and honest about its nuclear activities than it has been to date. That NATO, under U.S. leadership, refuses even to discuss such measures shows how far the Alliance has moved from the use of arms control as a security enhancing tool.

Undermining the NPT

  46.  The continuing reliance on nuclear defence creates a number of problems for the Alliance, even making pursuit of its own policies goals more difficult in some cases. In particular, the shifting role of nuclear weapons in Alliance defence strategy poses problems for the Non-Proliferation Treaty. These problems include:

    —  NATO's retention of its nuclear arsenal, and failure to address nuclear arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, is also a serious impediment to its own stated goal of addressing the threat to NATO of the proliferation of WMD.

    —  NATO nuclear sharing policy undermines the NPT, providing nuclear weapons and training in their use to nominally non-nuclear countries. Other European countries, such as Sweden and Ireland, the New Agenda Coalition of cross-regional states, and the 111-member group of Non-Aligned states parties to the NPT have objected to this policy.

    —  Nations in the NATO periphery and far beyond are unlikely to be able to accept NATO as an impartial arbiter of international security while it maintains an arsenal of nuclear weapons that are deployed in Europe and available for use even against non-nuclear nations across the globe. This is more the case as NATO has moved towards US-style counterproliferation policy. The use of nuclear weapons in counterproliferation is deeply controversial in Europe, and undermines Alliance solidarity in the struggle against proliferation.

  47.  Hundreds of free fall bombs still remain assigned for NATO missions and even the use of NATO nations in wartime, and the US and UK allocate Trident forces for NATO missions. The Alliance states a need to defend "NATO deployed forces" against WMD with missile defences, and to be able to "conduct operations taking account of the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction", nuclear, biological or chemical. Over the past 15 years, the American concept of counterproliferation has dramatically changed U.S. nuclear weapons use policy and doctrine, and also had an effect on NATO policy.

  48.  One particular emerging concern within the NPT review process has been a focus on Negative Security Assurances. While NATO and some of its member states continue to allow for the possible use of nuclear weapons against chemical or biological weapons (and in the case of the United States even against very large conventional weapons they describe as WMD), it is very difficult for NATO members to satisfactorily respond to the concerns of non-nuclear weapons states in the NATO periphery and the wider world.

  49.  A number of states raised this question during the 2008 NPT PrepCom. The issue of security assurances is an especially important one for the Non-Aligned Movement. While most interventions were of a non-specific nature, Rebecca Johnson of the Acronym Institute reports that the Ukraine made some concrete proposals to advance the issue:

    Ukraine sought to include them as it identified four key elements that a legally binding instrument on security assurances should include:

      —  an obligation for states that possess nuclear weapons to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any non-nuclear states, to respect their sovereignty and existing borders;

      —  an obligation for states that possess nuclear weapons to refrain from coercive political, economic and other forms of pressure on NNWS;

      —  an obligation for providing assistance to any state that became a victim of an act of aggression or an object of threat of aggression with use of nuclear weapons; and provisions that would stipulate the responsibilities of a state possessor of nuclear weapons in the event that it violated these obligations;

      —  established procedures for reacting to cases of such violation or impingement on sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of NNWS with the use of nuclear weapons.[150]

  50.  NATO is in a position to review these points and engage this debate. It would strengthen the NPT (even now a stated NATO objective) and could contribute to the resolution of the current crisis with Iran. NATO would need to review and substantially alter the role of nuclear weapons in NATO defence strategy as part of such a change of position.

  51.  There are other issues within the NPT context where NATO's current position is controversial. The indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995 was conditioned by non-nuclear weapon states in part on the conclusion of a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban. All NATO nations except the United States have now ratified that Treaty. The Bush administration has gone so far as to explore withdrawing its signature from the CTBT, although to the frustration of administration officials they were legally unable to pursue that option. As noted above, it has prevented NATO offering practical or even declaratory support for the Treaty, thus undermining both the CTBT and faith in the NPT itself.

  52.  Another area where NATO's nuclear strategy could be hurting its defence efforts is the question of tactical nuclear weapons. This is also a hot button issue in the NPT review process. Belgium called at this year's PrepCom for action in this field, although the Belgian government does not yet have specific policies to pursue. The deployment of US nuclear weapons in NATO Europe, and the nuclear sharing programme under which some of these are allocated for Allied use in time of war is an impediment to progress. Nuclear sharing also means that several Allied nations have an ambiguous status as non-nuclear weapons states. Belgium is part of this programme, and it would be sensible for Belgium to end its participation in nuclear sharing and request the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons if it wishes to advance its policy agenda. Arms control, as noted above, requires sacrifice in some military capability for a gain in net security. Removal of the US nuclear weapons from Europe would also open the door to discussions on elimination of thousands of tactical nuclear weapons held by Russia. All this would significantly strengthen the NPT, restoring much of the belief of non-nuclear states in the Treaty that has been lost over the past decade.

THE ABM TREATY, BMD DEPLOYMENTS AND WORSENING RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA

  53.  Relations between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia have deteriorated over the past two years, in large part because an increasingly resurgent and even aggressive Russia bitterly resents NATO actions, perceiving abandoned arms control agreements and new strategic moves by NATO as a threat to Russian security. Figuring large in the new confrontation is the termination of the ABM Treaty by the United States and the proposed deployment in Europe of US ballistic missile defences.

  54.  The Bush administration insists that European facilities would be aimed at detecting and destroying missile launches from Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East and would not be a challenge to Russia's strategic nuclear forces, which are still being reduced. Russia, however, sees a threat. In early January 2008, the Russian Ambassador to Belgium, Vadim Lukov, told a seminar that: "The trajectory of any American missile from Poland would be south-south-east and the speed would be very high. In this situation any notion of an early warning evaporates. Poland is just six and a half minutes from Moscow and in this situation the Russians would rely on an automated response. I am sure you may all well imagine the unfortunate consequences."[151]

  55.  The NATO Summit, which President Putin attended, and the following US-Russia Summit at Sochi calmed the atmosphere, but provided no resolution of ongoing disputes. The Russian over-reaction to Georgian attack on South Ossetia, followed by their unacceptable military actions, risk a serious and long term deterioration of relations.

  56.  A Russian initiative to globalise the INF Treaty has gone largely ignored by NATO nations. Over and above narrow Russian objections, important though these are, the potential deployment of even a small part of the US strategic BMD system in Europe has damaged a range of measures within the global non-proliferation regime.

  57.  Despite US denials, concerns that a European-based missile defence system is ultimately meant for Russia are exacerbated by US plans to extend its weapons into space. Although the first phase of BMD involves only land-based missile interceptors, the Bush administration's planned missile defence architecture envisages interceptors based also at sea, in the air and on satellites in space. As Paul Wolfowitz, then US Deputy Secretary of Defense, noted in 2002: "while we have demonstrated that hit-to-kill works, as we look ahead we need to think about areas that would provide higher leverage. Nowhere is that more true than in space. Space offers attractive options not only for missile defence but for a broad range of interrelated civil and military missions. It truly is the ultimate high ground. We are exploring concepts and technologies for space-based intercepts."[152] This follows from an earlier US Space Command document that bluntly identified space as the fourth medium of warfare.[153]

  58.  Against this background, Russian experts have also expressed dismay at the use of the Pacific BMD system to shoot down an old Pentagon satellite earlier this year. This proven anti-satellite capability is a further threat to Russia and other nations, and undermines prospects for successful talks on Preventing an Arms Race in Outer Space in the Conference on Disarmament.

  59.  A significant part of the damage already done by European BMD plans is that to existing arms control agreements. Kremlin spokespeople have upped the ante by threatening to deploy new kinds of strategic nuclear warheads that could overwhelm the US defences. They have also raised the spectre of Russian withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty if US plans for bases in Eastern Europe go ahead. Russian Army Chief of Staff Baluyevsky has said that the decision on the INF Treaty will rest on American actions on missile defences. In early July 2007, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Ivanov also threatened to deploy intermediate range missiles to Kaliningrad ready for use against the Polish and Czech BMD sites:

    If our proposal is accepted, then the need will disappear for us to place … new weapons, including missiles, in the European part of the country, including Kaliningrad, to counter those threats that … will appear if the decision is taken to place the missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.[154]

  60.  Russia has also suspended participation on Russia's compliance with the CFE Treaty. While officially separate from the missile defence issue, the two items have clearly been linked in Russian minds. While NATO has offered a solution to the CFE row, NATO nations have yet to ratify the Amended CFE Treaty and Russia clearly links the issues.

  61.  There could not be a clearer series of examples of how deployment of military defence systems intended to bring greater security can actually undermine that objective security, and how a mutually agreed programme of multilateral security measures could dramatically improve European and indeed global security. NATO nations need to be much more proactive in assuaging a range of Russian security concerns if they hope to renew cooperation in the CFE arena, and also if any solution to the situation in Georgia is to be found amicably.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

  62.  As NATO debates its future, the role of nuclear weapons in the Alliance is an essential part of that debate. The role of arms control in Alliance policy for threat reduction should be a major component of that nuclear weapons policy. The elimination of serious consideration of arms control and disarmament from Alliance policy—contrary to NATO protestations to the contrary—has serious implications for European security. In following this path, NATO is taking off the table a series of options for the reduction and elimination of potential threats to the Alliance that could significantly enhance regional security, and obviate the need for NATO to pursue a policy of nuclear deterrence and potential nuclear use in counterproliferation. Potential benefits from an arms control approach include:

    —  The reduction and elimination of Russian tactical nuclear weapons;

    —  The peaceful elimination of any potential Iranian nuclear threat;

    —  The entry-into-force of the Pelindaba Treaty, the African nuclear weapon free zone;

    —  The ability to play a constructive role in the elimination of chemical and biological weapons by nations in NATO's periphery.

  63.  The current government has elaborated a policy of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament, leading to the final elimination of all nuclear weapons. It has not yet chosen to pursue this agenda through its principle defensive forum, NATO. If it did so, it would find that the strength of 26 nations was brought to bear in support of its policies. NATO nations are currently fortunate that they face few if any immediate military threats to their security. Now is the time to act to enhance regional security by ensuring, through negotiations and the revitalization of NATO's role in arms control, that such threats do not emerge in the near future. This approach is well aligned with stated UK government policy in the fields of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. Ministers should be examining ways in which NATO can be used as a vehicle to enhance national policy.

Recommendations

  64.  The British government could initiate a debate with its NATO's allies on a wide range of specific policy alternatives. This should form part of the Strategic Concept debate, and should:

    —  Rely on multi-lateral arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament as the primary tools for the reduction and elimination of all WMD threats and potential threats in the Euro-Atlantic area;

    —  Facilitate this through the removal of US nuclear weapons from Europe, the ending of NATO nuclear sharing, and the termination of all nuclear elements in joint strategy and doctrine;

    —  All Alliance members should consider how they can reduce and eventually eliminate the role of nuclear weapons in national defence policies, and how enhanced arms control policies could assist in bringing this to fruition

  65.  Perhaps the most important shift that NATO could undertake would be the revitalization of the North Atlantic Council as a venue for consultation and negotiation of arms control positions with the North Atlantic Alliance. This has worked well for NATO in the past, and contrary to current policy assumption would do so again.

  66.  Specifically, NATO could engage in a series of areas that directly affect the security of all Alliance members. These might include:

    —  Consultations with the US in the North Atlantic Council and with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council on the follow on to the START I and Moscow treaties;

    —  Discussions in the NATO-Russia Council on globalizing the INF Treaty, as well as urgent talks on reinstating the CFE Treaty;

    —  Consultations between NATO ministers on arms control measures to reduce the threat of ballistic missiles;

    —  Examination of measures to reduce and eliminate specific WMD threats, especially the potential nuclear threat from Iran;

    —  Examination within NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue of changes in nuclear use policy necessary to implement the Negative Security Assurances in the Pelindaba treaty—Africa's nuclear weapon free zone—and also on how NATO can assist in bringing that Treaty into force;

    —  Consultations on the entry into force of the CTBT, with a focus on US ratification and assistance that NATO as an organization can give to the CTBTO;

    —  A thorough study of all potential WMD threats to the Alliance and an analysis of measures that can be taken to eliminate them through multilateral negotiations, including concessions that NATO would need to make to achieve these goals.

  67.  This agenda could be facilitated through the removal of US nuclear weapons from their few remaining European deployment sites. The presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe, and the participation of nominally non-nuclear European nations in nuclear planning, is counterproductive to European security on a number of grounds:

    —  It clearly divides the Alliance on military means that can be used to address imminent threats, and by doing so decreases the worth of the Article V guarantee;

    —  It undermines the arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament goals of the Allies, collectively and individually, rendering threat reduction harder;

    —  It undermines the relationship with Russia, especially in the context of the current debate on US missile defences;

    —  It accords an enormous political and military importance to nuclear weapons, a fact not lost on all States party to the NPT;

    —  It provides political cover for Russia when it threatens to reintroduce nuclear weapons into Belarus, or elsewhere.

  68.  In the post-Cold War world, the drift of NATO nuclear weapons policy is actually harming Alliance security. Threats which could be addressed through arms control will not be because the Alliance no longer gives full support to arms control, and because its excessive reliance on nuclear weapons to deter a range of actual and even potential threats means that others will continue to rely on nuclear weapons to deter NATO.

  69.  Moreover, by refusing to confirm or deny recent nuclear weapon withdrawals from European nations, NATO has missed a significant opportunity to improve the atmosphere in the relationship with Russia; and just as significantly in the PrepCom meetings leading to the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT. The contribution that the announcement of already achieved nuclear reductions could have should not be underestimated. The British government could, in conjunction with the US administration, confirm the removal of nuclear weapons from Lakenheath. This could be part of action by NATO to reverse the current air of negativity around nuclear reductions. The Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) have become cynical about promises of future reductions, matched with lack of actual progress in disarmament and modernisation of arsenals by Nuclear Weapon States (NWS).

  70.  Further, the incremental steps that have been outlined would fit very well within the strategy for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons proposed by Henry Kissinger, William Perry, Sam Nunn and George Schulz. This approach is consistent with UK government policy, and would significantly enhance the security of NATO member states, through the reduction and elimination of actual and potential WMD threats to the Alliance. The initiative by Lord Hurd, Lord Owen, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Robertson leant support to the Kissinger et al concepts.

  71.  Changes in the political leadership of key NATO members provide an opportunity for this possible reexamination of the Strategic Concept. It may be that a new U.S. administration, for example, may be more receptive to reviving NATO's traditional role in arms control and disarmament initiatives. Developing some alternatives now may aid positive action later. What NATO does in the time preceding the 2010 NPT Review Conference will be watched closely by States around the world, and may well tip the balance either toward a continued trend toward proliferation or to a promotion of greater security through confidence building and other measures. The British government is well-placed to take a lead in the Alliance in ensuring a positive outcome in this vital policy area.

29 September 2008
























136   UK Secretary of Defence Browne, Speech to the Conference on Disarmament, February 2008. Back

137   The Future Tasks of the Alliance, Report of the Council, 14 December 1967. Back

138   Paul H. Nitze, "Security challenges facing NATO in the 1990s", Address before the Nobel Institute's Leangkollen Seminar in Oslo on 6 February 1989. Back

139   Washington Summit Communiqué, An Alliance for the 21st Century, April 1999, para. 31. Back

140   Ibid, para. 32. Back

141   The full text of this report can be found at http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2000/p00-121e/home.htm. Back

142   Final Communiqué, Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Brussels, December 2000, para. 55. Back

143   Final Communiqué, Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council Held in Budapest, 29-30 May 2001. Back

144   Istanbul Summit Communiqué, Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, 28-29 June 2004. Back

145   Final communiqué, Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers session held in Brussels on Thursday, 8 June 2006. Back

146   A full description of the Adapted CFE Treaty can be found at http://www.acronym.org.uk/dd/dd42/42cfe.htm. Back

147   Riga Summit Declaration, Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Riga on 29 November 2006. Back

148   NATO Bucharest Summit Declaration, Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Bucharest on 3 April 2008, paragraph 45. Back

149   Ibid, paragraph 39. Back

150   Rebecca Johnson, "2008 NPT PrepCom: Decisions taken, Security Assurances debated", 6 May 2008. Available at http://www.acronym.org.uk/npt/08pc05.htm Back

151   Angus McDowall, Poland "agrees" to US missile defence deal, Daily Telegraph, February 4, 2008. Back

152   Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of Defense, to the Frontiers of Freedom organisation, "Transcript-Wolfowitz Outlines Missile Defense Successes, Way Ahead, US State Department (Washington File)", 25 October 2002. Some of the Bush administration's more ambitious plans and timetables have been derailed, mainly due to the budgetary and military overstretch in Iraq. Back

153   United States Space Command, Vision for 2020, February 1997: "the medium of space is the fourth medium of warfare-along with land, sea and air." Back

154   Neil Buckley and Demetri Sevastopulo, Russians threaten to counter US shield, Financial Times, 4 July 2007. Back


 
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